Although the term ‘permaculture’ was coined over 30 years ago by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, it is not exactly a household name. I only learned about it 4 years ago or so; and my friend Richard had never heard of it until I shared it with him last year.
But just because it’s not a household name doesn’t mean that there aren’t hundreds of thousands of people learning about it, practicing it, and teaching it. Go to Youtube and type in permaculture, and you’ll find endless videos of people showing their gardens, teaching concepts, and generally sharing knowledge. Pretty cool.
There are permaculture books, permaculture courses – both in-person and online – and permaculture teachers and designers in countries all over the world. You can take a Permaculture Design Certificate course (PDC) and become a designer.
You can take that information and put it to use designing your own permaculture paradise, designing for others for money, or go on to become a teacher yourself.
If you can’t afford to do the PDC, and are just interested in certain aspects of permaculture, there are lots of places online that offer free ‘courses’ and other information packages. And you might live somewhere where there are permaculturists giving courses on different aspects of permaculture, so check online.
The best place I found to learn about permaculture, and meet like minded people, was the biggest online permaculture forums on the web, Permies.com. This is the place to go, no matter what aspect of permaculture interests you.
Are you most interested in learning about alternative energy? They’ve got forums for that. Does natural building tickle your fancy? Yep, lots of that on there too. As I said, Permies covers the whole range of permaculture topics.
Permies website experience
When you visit the Permies forums, you might think that it looks a bit . . . outdated. And it does. That’s the way Paul Wheaton, the Permies owner and originator, likes it. But don’t let its looks fool you! There is a lot of powerful and innovative technology backing the Permies forums.
These days, we’re used to landing on flashy, bright websites, with techie looking ads, and contemporary design. But Permies looks like a throwback to the early days of web design, with its wood grain background, and outdated buttons.
But so what? The Permies forums great! All the information you could possibly need about any aspect of permaculture is somewhere in the millions of threads created on the site.
Do you have a question about solar energy? There are 7489 threads in the Solar forum. Want to learn about wild harvesting? Check out the 5458 threads in the Wild Harvesting forum.
See what I mean? Lots of information there. There are 24 categories, and each category has at least 5 sub-categories, with some – like the Growies category – having 36 categories! And each category has hundreds, and sometimes thousands of threads.
Permies members and moderators
I have been a moderator at Permies for about 3 years. I’m not as active as I once was, but I still contribute through my garden thread in the Projects forums.
I have made some great connections at Permies. I was fortunate enough to illustrate and do the layout for two different books written by Permies folks. One was written by Paul Wheaton, Building a Better World in Your Backyard. The other was written by Raven Ranson, Homegrown Linen.
The moderators at Permies are a really great group of folks. Their dedication to keeping the site a safe and secure place for like minded folk to gather is just wonderful.
When I first became a moderator, I was amazed at how much yucky stuff needs to be taken out. Spammers and scammers – and just plain nutters – abound; and it’s the moderator’s job to keep on top of it, and make sure no one else sees that stuff.
If you get involved at Permies, you’re sure to meet people who have the same interests as you. You can swap stories, share information, and even make plans to meet some time. It really is a great place to feel welcome and accepted.
There are 25 forum categories that are accessible to the public, and one forum category for the moderators. And within those main categories are hundreds of sub-categories, loaded with the information you’re looking for.
From growing vegetables to raising animals, Permies covers it all. You’re likely to find information you didn’t even know you didn’t know! I’d never heard of a Rocket Mass Heater, but now I can’t wait to build one! And we’ve built two different styles of rocket stoves here, and use them both regularly. Coolness.
There are other categories at Permies that have useful information, such as the Regional section, which can help you find permaculturists in your area; and the Education category, which can help you find courses, workshops, conferences, and even homeschooling information.
The Experiences category is a place to look for WWOOFing and Internship spots, as well as jobs, land shares, and volunteer opportunities.
And then there’s the Global Resources category, where you will find all kinds of products, resources, and the Permies Book Review grid.
One fairly recent addition to the general goodness at Permies is the Digital Market. This started out as a market place for people to sell only digital products such as plans, ebooks, pdfs, and videos; but it has since expanded, so people are able to sell physical products as well.
This is a really wonderful idea, and it is beginning to take off. You can find all kinds of stuff in there now. I am an affiliate, and have posted a few products in the sidebar of this site: the Solar Dehydrator Plans, Rocket Oven Plans, and Sergei Boutenko’s Wild Edibles package are all available in the Digital Market at Permies.
There are more products that I will be posting, such as plans for building different sizes and styles of Rocket Mass Heaters, as well as some Solar Energy solutions you can build yourself. Coolness.
I just wanted to mention the Digital Market so that you know it’s a legitimate place to purchase things. It might look low-tech, but it’s totally safe, and set up using the best tech.
Join Permies and start learning
Joining Permies is free, and easy as pie (and there’s a lot of talk about Pie there). I think you’ll really enjoy the feeling of community there.
I know you’ll be excited by the mass of information you’ll find. And every once in a while, Permies offers free stuff for their members. And! There are lots of book give-aways too!
Some forums can be difficult to maneuver, and there can be some pretty heated discussions that make people uncomfortable. But that doesn’t happen too often at Permies. There is only one major rule: Be Nice. If you follow that rule, you’ll do fine.
I hope you check it out, and get involved in the Permies forum. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop them in the comment box below. I look forward to hearing from you.
Hope, Health & Happiness